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Thompson Rehder’s press conference on Senate gridlock sparks day of responses

“Last night was the red-line for me.”

Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder held a press conference this morning concerning an amendment that she considered a “poison pill” that Sen. Rick Brattin attempted to be added to her SB 775 the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights.

She was flanked by 19 of her colleagues, 10 Republicans and nine Democrats, including Sen. Dan Hegeman, Caleb Rowden, John Rizzo, Doug Beck, Brian Williams, Tony Luetkemeyer, Justin Brown, Karla May, Barbara Washington, Angela Moseley, Lauren Arthur, Karla Eslinger, Jeanie Riddle, Mike Cierpiot, Jason Bean, Jill Schupp, Lincoln Hough, Greg Razer, and Elaine Gannon.

After explaining the “traditional” process bills have to travel to reach the floor, Thompson Rehder called out “Sen. Brattin and others” who are responsible for the bill not being able to pass through with the additional “hot button, partisan issues” they added to the bill. 

Alongside Sens. Brattin, Bob Onder, Denny Hoskins, Mike Moon, and Bill Eigel were named specifically.

“Last night we witnessed a small group of self-serving politicians obstructing a non-controversial, and needed, piece of legislation yet again,” Thompson Rehder said. 

Hoskins took to the floor and began to address the chamber during the approval of the journal. He went through Thompson Rehder’s bill line by line discussing the changes that it would make and making the case that it deserved to be challenged and reviewed. 

In an inquiry with Moon, he also made the case for Brattin’s amendment to be added to the bill, as well as be passed on the floor alone. 

Although it’s Brattin’s amendment, Thompson Rehder asked Hoskins “…and the others to stop tweeting things that are petty and offensive to sexual assault victims and their families,” and for Moon to, “put the books away and stop wasting taxpayer dollars by standing to read for hours at a time.” 

Moon responded:

“It’s been stated that time spent reading books is equivalent to wasting taxpayer dollars. Without proper communication (from SEnate leaders), it is nigh impossible to properly prepare for bill debate. Yet, time has been taken away from floor debate for bowling, golf, and whatever whim Senate leaders desire.

Proper, timely communication can enable legislators in preparation for passing good legislation.  If reading a book gains the attention of decision-makers, the time reading is well-spent.

A primary function of government is to protect the God-given rights of the people. Time spent not passing bills is time spent not infringing upon the rights of Missourians!  This is a win for Missouri!”

She asked Onder was asked to “climb off his high horse long enough to realize that the majority of Missourians have not been as fortunate as he.”

His comment last night referring to SB 775 as “this little bill” did not go unnoticed either. 

Thompson Rehder concluded by calling for an end to “empty negotiations and begging for civility … behind closed doors,” and that it was “time for the Missouri Senate to do its work.” 

Later in the morning, Eigel took to the floor to blame Rowden for not bringing other senators “into the loop which leads to environments where everything has to be done on the floor.”

He referred to Thompson Rehder’s press conference as the “epitome of show horsing.” He continued: “The senator leading that press conference hasn’t had a single discussion with Sen. Brattin. Are we ever gonna see any leadership on the management of the floor this session?”

In a statement to The Missouri Times, Rowden commented, “I beat them in one leadership race, and if at any point they want me to beat them again, I can do that.”

The audio from the press conference can be heard here: